• Independent Forums

Speaker Interview: Dr. Christian Schmeichel


Get to know the thought leaders sharing their insights at the Future Work Scenarios event (12 May, London) in our dedicated speaker interview series.

 

Independent Forums: What are you currently reading?

Dr. Christian Schmeichel: Currently, I am reading Work Disrupted – Opportunities, Resilience, and Growth in the Accelerated Future of Work by Jeff Schwartz. Truly inspiring and unexpected stories of innovation and creative solutions that will be needed when we want to successfully reinvent the world of work. The author considers change that must be made to create a 21st-century workplace that will allow people to thrive. Interviews with thought leaders on the new world of work do offer additional perspectives as well as practical advice for decision makers.


Independent Forums: What’s one thing about you that most people don’t know?

Dr. Christian Schmeichel: I have always had a huge passion for athletics. Growing up I used to practice semi-professionally, six days per week as a track and field athlete. Actually, I became quite successful in running the 110m hurdles race and competed nationally. Besides having a lot of fun, there were quite a few lessons I had the chance to learn. For example, there will be always hurdles in life - so one just needs to jump over them!


Independent Forums: What’s one thing about your organisation that you wish more people knew?

Dr. Christian Schmeichel: In the spirit of innovation, SAP continuously seeks and defines new ways of working. This is part of our DNA. Now, with COVID-19 in its third year, we are defining our future beyond the pandemic—and our employees are at the heart of it. Our approach includes SAP’s Pledge to Flex as a global commitment for flexible and hybrid work at SAP. The Pledge to flexible work empowers employees to work when, where, and how they work best in consideration with business requirements and local legislation. The model is very well received; when designing and implementing the concept, we have been considering various personas and roles, for example Developers, Sales and Marketing, Finance, etc. as well as local differences or personal situations. Designing a leading-edge Future of Work agenda along people and technology in the workplace is a key differentiator in the talent market that fosters SAP’s attractiveness as an employer.


Independent Forums: How has your perception about the world of work evolved over the past two years?

Dr. Christian Schmeichel: Globalization, the demographic change and increasing digitization are changing the world of work continually. And the COVID-19 pandemic has massively accelerated this development. The Future of Work is not science fiction anymore though! Expectations of workers have changed regarding their workplace, and the war for talent has further intensified. But with challenge comes opportunity which is why we reimagine the way we all want to work now and in the future. For organizations it is an imperative to become more agile and resilient by leveraging leading-edge people practices and innovative workplace approaches.


To be successful in this new environment and to be able to retain employees and attract new ones, SAP drives to develop into an even more agile and innovative company. We foster a corporate culture in which employees are valued and supported. To do this, we cater for their needs and provide technologies and solutions to have fun at work while operating efficiently and safely.


Tomorrow’s world will be led by the generations to come. At SAP we work closely together, with a purpose at the heart to attract youth, and retain and develop the next generation of talent. Getting this new world of work right is a key differentiator to attract and retain the best people.


Independent Forums: Where do you see the biggest opportunity to transform the way we work?

Dr. Christian Schmeichel: The Future of Work is based on a cultural transformation that brings people, technology, and workspaces closer together. For a purposeful and sustainable way forward, the focus will be on flexibility and empowerment of employees to run at their best. We are pushing the limits to bring this to life at SAP with our leading-edge Pledge to Flex working model to ensure employees have what they need to be productive, creative, and inspired while running the business responsibly and meeting customer requirements. Looking into the future, the workforce in general will see a major shift towards more flexibility. Job profiles will evolve due to the demand of the labour market as well as personal preferences of employees, and we will see a rise in gig workers and contractors. In addition, with increased levels of automation leveraging digital tools and artificial intelligence, employees will be able to focus more on higher value tasks that are differentiators for human beings along non-linear creativity or empathetic skills.


Independent Forums: What are you most looking forward to at Future Work Scenarios 2022?

Dr. Christian Schmeichel: I am particularly looking forward to joining Future Work Scenarios because it is one of the first events that I will be attending in-person. It will be great to re-connect with peers face-to-face after more than two years of mainly virtual events. We are all human beings, so meeting each other in person again is what I really missed! Moreover, the speaker line-up and focus topics hit all the right buttons to make organizations future-fit for the post-pandemic era. I appreciate the attention on social value, purpose, and cultural transformation and all its corresponding effects on shaping great employee experiences. Really looking forward to seeing everyone in London!

 

Dr. Christian Schmeichel will deliver a keynote address entitled 'The Future of Work is not science fiction anymore!' at the Future Work Scenarios event on 12 May in London.


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